Howard County isn't known for their basketball tradition, only 1 State champion since 1989 (Oakland Mills in 2A). It's not because lack of talent, but just better talent in the areas surrounding them, like Baltimore City/County and Prince Georges County. This year though, the Howard County area had two teams representing them at the Xfinity Center and both walked out with a State Title.
The Oakland Mills Scorpions watched Centennial win the 3A title, ending the 26-year drought for the county. It seem like they used that as some motivation against Patterson. In the first three and a half minutes of the game, OM was on a 10-0 run, forcing 4 Patterson turnovers. Oakland Mills would slow down a bit, scoring 6 points for the remainder of the quarter but their defense never missed a beat.
Oakland Mills ran a 3-2 zone which made it very hard for the Patterson Clippers to find some buckets. Instead of moving the ball to break the zone, Derrick Oliver of Patterson, tried to drive through the middle, which obviously wasn't successful. Similar to how they lost to Lake Clifton in the City Championship, Patterson didn't have much movement from their players off the ball, in order to break that zone. Oliver finished with 22 points but only 2 dimes with 6 turnovers, not numbers you want to see from your star point guard.
The opposing point guard, Daniel Kiely of Oakland Mills, didn't have the monstrous numbers but he was the best floor general on the court. Kiely finished with 5 dimes but it should have been 10, a few being mishandled by his teammates because they weren't ready for it. I was very impressed with Kiely's vision, being able to find the open man without even looking at them, it was definitely fun to watch.
Patterson, at halftime was down 26-37, but in the third quarter made their run, starting the quarter with a 7-2 run. The Clippers started to find their stroke, beating the 3-2 zone with some outside shooting. Gary Blackston of the Clippers was 4-9 from behind the arc, finishing with 18 points. Going into the fourth, the Clippers was only down 45-47 with some momentum.
The 4th quarter had some good back-n-forth action. With 3:40 remaining, the Clippers took the lead thanks to a Richard Hibbert offensive rebound, and once again after Christion Adams snatched his 4th offensive rebound that put the Clippers up 52-51 with 2 minutes remaining. This was the third straight game the Scorpions gave up a a double-digit lead and the third time they found a way to win, relying on their workhorse Will Robinson Jr.
Will right after the Clippers took the lead, snatched a big offensive board and went back up strong to give his team the lead 53-52 with 90 seconds remaining. On the ensuing possession, Derrick Oliver turned the ball over trying to split the double team which was a perfect example of the type of game he had. The Scorpions closed it out knocking down their free throws, clinching their first title in 26 years.
Robinson finished with a game high 26 points, ending his high school career on a good note. Will has been apart of 4 different schools, and finally found somewhere to claim home. Mamadou Ndiaye, also transferred to the Oakland Mills team in 2013 ended his high school career with a 15 point performance.
This the first time in MPSSAA history that two Howard County schools won States in the same year and the fourth time since 2000 that Baltimore City did not walk away with a state champion.